Restaurants & Bars 2

Review: Shawn's on Main, Morro Bay

SLOLindsay | Jan 28, 200505:56 PM

Finally, after several attempts, we tried Shawn’s on Main in Morro Bay last night.

We had made a reservation, so we got seated quickly in the tiny space. It’s decoration is unique, especially for Morro Bay, with lights inside blue bottles hanging from the ceiling, black cushions and big, red pillows for seats, and bold artwork. The tables are small and close together – the couple next to us shared both their bottles of wine freely with my friend and I, and I had a close seat next to the mayor on my other side. Kind of cozy. I liked it.

We both settled on the four-course chef’s menu, $37 with wine pairings, $25 without; I had the first and my friend had the second. This is a small-plates place, so it’s either the chef’s menu or two to three small plates ($7-10 apiece) for each person. Tiny portions.

The wine pairings were generous, local (3 out of 4 were Paso Robles) and for the most part, quite good. Neither my friend nor I liked the Spanish selection, but one out of four isn’t bad.

Our courses…
(First, an amuse bouche of light, tomato-ey gazpacho – delicious though not spicy, enough for one mouthful.)

• Oven roasted tomato and goat cheese bruschetta with balsamic reduction. The tomato was surprisingly cold, and the cheese was perfect. It was two little crusts of bread – I could’ve eaten more of this. The reduction was very, very syrupy sweet, drizzled around the plate. Mmm.

• Tomato basil bisque. Creamy and warm, very comforting on a chilly, drizzly Morro Bay night. Not enough basil.

• Lamb medallions with olive tapenade, arugula and whipped potatoes. The lamb was wonderful, lots of flavor. I loved how everything went together.

• Medium rare chocolate cake, topped with whipped cream and drizzled with syrups. I liked the tartness of what I think was strawberry syrup. The cake was dense, moist and lava-hot in the center, with melted chocolate sliding out as I cut into it. I’ve never had a cake like this before. I would definitely have it again, though this is the only time I felt slightly guilty finishing all of that richness.

The service, unfortunately, was dismally slow. When the one waitress finally did get to our table, she spent less than 30 seconds with us – like, drop the wine and run.

I understand she’s pulled a dozen different ways and there’s really only one of her (I think the chef’s mom was helping behind the bar, too) but for heaven’s sake, at least take a minute to answer a question or see if we need anything. It was quite poor. I usually give a 20 percent tip, but this time I stuck to 15. I know, they’re trying.

Shawn has a great wine list with lots of local stuff, if you’re interested in trying Central Coast vino. He has many half bottles (Tolosa Pinot is always a safe bet) and lots of sake, for some reason. He says it goes well with a lot of his food, which tends to include lots of root vegetables and balsamic-soy reductions. These are good things. :-)

I’d go to Shawn’s again, maybe as an after-dinner place if he’s open after we see a movie or something. The small plates would be great for 9 p.m. after you’ve had an early dinner. I think, though, that he might only stay open as long as he has reservations or people coming in, because I heard him say at one point last night, “duck, pork and then we’re going home!” It was a little after 9.

If anyone else has been here, what was your experience? Do you think this guy will stick around?

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